Everyone knew their role and played it quite well. If life was not always happy, at least it was stable.
Fifty years ago, this book could not have been written. But things have changed during the past five decades, and the predictable is no more.
Nowhere have these changes been more poignantly felt than by parents of those amazing and puzzling young people we call Generation Y (or the Millennials or the Mosaics), as well as some of the younger Gen-Xers. Among the changes affecting the contour of the family circle are:
- Adult children may live more than one hundred miles away, often out of state.
- Or, adult children, increasingly, may be moving back to the nest - sometimes with their own children.
- Many adult children don't marry until their late twenties or thirties.
With all these changes, many parents wonder now how to relate to their adult children. There are roles that parents can and should play in the lives of their adult children, as we plan to show in this book; but to play those roles we need to better understand our grown sons and daughters.
Many of our young people want to establish a lifestyle similar to what their parents have, but they also see that, increasingly, the prospects for doing that are bleak, at least in the current economic crunch. We are all aware of the dismal unemployment statistics—by some measurements, young adults have suffered the most. Most of the jobs available are in the service categories, which do not offer a good wage. This means that great numbers of well-trained young people are looking for fewer and fewer high-paying positions.
Some researchers even suggest that “emerging adulthood”—the life stage from about 18 to 30—is a separate developmental stage similar to adolescence, which was first identified early in the twentieth century.
While it may seem artificial and unfair to gather all Millennials into one pot, these young people do seem to share enough attitudes to make them a distinct group. Knowing how great numbers of them think and feel can be helpful to you when you are at wits’ end trying to understand your child.
This very large (75 million) generation has been described as optimistic, civic-minded, and socially aware – one author went so far as calling them possibly “the next Greatest Generation.” However, they are also described as having a “sense of entitlement” and as “trophy kids” raised during a “child-centric” era. Millennials may have overblown expectations for their work—when they can find work, which, as we have seen, is very difficult for many of them right now.
In work, school, and relationships, this generation tends to be more team oriented. They aren’t just expert at technology—they assume it. They are comfortable with diversity. They are confident, but also very relational. And, say human-resource experts, they are hard workers. At the same time, while many were encouraged to achieve as they were growing up, they are less driven than their boomer elders.
And they are taking a long time to “grow up,” as it is conventionally understood. Jeffrey Arnett, who coined the term “emerging adulthood,” comments:
To be a young American today is to experience both excitement and uncertainty, wide-open possibility and confusion, new freedoms and new fears. The rise in the ages of entering marriage and parenthood, the lengthening of higher education and prolonged job instability during the twenties reflects the development of a new period of life for young people in the United States and other industrialized societies . . . It is a new and historically unprecedented period of the life course . . . [that] should be recognized as a distinct new period of life that will be around for many generations to come.Today as Millennials finish their schooling (and they are the most educated generation in our history), they are not always ready to tackle the challenge of jobs and families, a trend that has been developing for a number of years and has only been heightened by the recent recession. In their inability or reticence, as Arnett notes, they are creating a new phase of life between dependent childhood and independent adulthood.
In spite of profound changes during the past fifty years that have affected many families, we do see some hope on the horizon. Here in America we still have many parents and children who work through and enjoy their new relationships as the child becomes an adult. Many parents genuinely enjoy being with their adult children; several referred to their grown children as “good friends.” And a variety of polls show that both the Millennials and Generation X want their marriages and families to succeed. Indeed, said the author of one study, “The majority of [Millennials] want to get married . . . they just want to do it right the first time.” Like you, your children care about their future, and they are wrestling to know what to do. You and your child can share this journey – as adults who love and respect each other.
"Based on ideas in their new book coming up in March: How to Really Love Your Adult Child."
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Dear Gary - January 2011
January 29, 2011
Spend an hour with some friends this weekend and deal with some pretty difficult issues. On this edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s our January “Dear Gary” broadcast. We’ll hear questions and comments from listeners and Dr. Chapman will provide his perspective. It’s sure to be an encouragement.
Tune in to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, the weekly radio broadcast brought to you by Moody Radio and Moody Publishers. Listen live online Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. and evenings at 7:00 p.m. CST at moodyradio.org, check your local radio station, or download free podcasts and get more information.
Link: Love Language Minute ~ Building Relationships Radio
You and Your Adult Child: Ezekiel 18:1-32